tv MSNBC Live MSNBC July 8, 2011 11:00am-12:00pm EDT
expectations, thomas, the last couple days private forecasters had been upping their expectations for job creation after a payroll company had reported an increase of people signing on for jobs. unfortunately, for everyone involved, not the least of which is the 14 million people who are still looking for work, that turned out to be not the case. so there's really no way to put a good face on this, and white house officials would concede that this is certainly not good political news, thomas. >> and mike, as you point out, earlier today he met with nancy pelosi, the president, and is running just a bit behind this morning. he was supposed to speak around 10:30. >> that is absolutely right. and for all we know nancy pelosi is still in the west wing meeting with the president. obviously on the table here, these very high stakes, high-level negotiations that are going to continue on through the weekend here on trying to reach a deal on raising the debt ceiling, and in the process dramatic cuts to the nation's spending, debt, and deficit. >> mike viqueira at the white house for us. we want to talk more about that now because house speaker john boehner gave us his analysis of
the jobs number earlier today. take a listen. >> after hearing this morning's jobs report, i'm sure the american people are still asking the question where are the jobs. the stimulus spending binge, excessive government regulations, and our overwhelming debt continue to hold back job creators around our country. >> but a deal to put a massive dent in the national debt, that is still the number one issue today in washington, as we've been talking about over the last several minutes, president obama did meet with house minority leader nancy pelosi. that meeting could still be going on right now. just trying to find out where the caucus stands on negotiations. nbc's luke russert is live for us on capitol hill. luke, explain for us, what does the president need to accomplish in this meeting with nancy pelosi and what should we expect to hear from him when he takes to the microphones later this hour? >> well, house democrats, thomas, have a lot of concerns about some reports that came out that within the negotiations to try and extend the nation's debt limit the idea of medicare reform and social security
reform has gone in there. specifically perhaps cuts to benefits. now, why is this worrisome? well, house democrats really feel that within the republican ryan budget that had a real medicare voucher program they were handed a golden opportunity to campaign on. there was a special election outside of buffalo a few months ago. a democrat won in a republican district. what was the message? save medicare, vote democratic. they're worried that if president obama is to sign away any type of deal that would reduce medicare benefits it would rob them of running on an issue that could be very beneficial. they need to pick up about 24 seats to get the house back. you can expect nancy pelosi right now in this meeting is perhaps seeing the possibility of another speakership going away if there's any type of medicare benefit reduction because it would take that issue off the table. so that is most likely what is a big point of concern here. nancy pelosi was very adamant yesterday, saying that the republican caucus would not accept any deal that would cut medicare, cut social security. and remember, they're most likely going to need democratic
votes to get this across the finish line because we're expecting any type of deal to extend the nation's debt limit will get a lot of republican defection. >> we just got the two-minute warning. we saw some activity from one of the staffers coming out to put president obama's notes at that podium. so i want to keep you with me right now to talk about what can we expect with the president telling everyone they need to stay in town, not go home, there's going to be work over the weekend, and that they're going to be in session next week trying to hammer this out? >> they're going to be in session next week. and we also got word the house will stay in session july 18th. essentially what you're seeing now, thomas, is some of it's political show, obviously, when people have to work on sunday that sends a message to the american people, you're having your day off, the politicians here are working hard trying to fix the nation's problems. but this is really a crunch time. and why is that? well, any type of deal that comes about, especially if it's as big as they're talking about, $4 trillion in cuts over 12 years is going to need some real time to be sold to a very skeptical house republican conference. it's going to be a skeptical house democratic caucus.
any type of deal is going to be scrubbed thoroughly. why? last time when they had a government shutdown compromise, the very next day both publications on the conservative side and publications on the liberal side hammered it, saying the president gave away too much, that john boehner settled too easily. both sides don't want to go through that again. they want to show their cards after they reach some sort of agreement, let folks scrub it, and then move forward. that is why you're seeing a real, should we say, desire to work now and get it done quickly and move forward. obviously, when you have something this big, thomas, when you're talking about $4 trillion over 12 years, that's not the type of agreement that can be hammered out overnight. it's going to take time. and you're seeing that reflected obviously with the work on sunday and congress staying in session on july 18th. >> and luke, while we see people trying to work toward the middle or at least saying they're trying to work toward the middle and a compromise ground on this, the rhetoric doesn't seem to be tempered at all on either side. >> no, not at all. and you heard that from speaker boehner today and president obama yesterday, saying they're this far apart, using hand motions. what we do know is there are
some sort of blueprint that's been assembled, and it contains a few things. it's basically saying, look, there's a possibility of having massive tax reform and a sense you that would lower corporate taxes, eliminate deductions, but in that case you would broaden the tax base in an attempt to get $1 trillion in revenue. can we work that out in the time period? we know it's under discussion -- here's president obama. thomas? >> thank you, luke. let's go ahead and listen in. the president's taking the mike. >> good morning, everybody. obviously, over the last couple of days the debate here in washington's been dominated by issues of debt limit. but what matters most to americans and what matters most to me as president in the wake of the worst downturn in our lifetimes is getting our economy on a sounder footing more broadly so the american people can have the security they deserve. and that means getting back to a place where businesses consistently grow and are hiring, where new jobs and new opportunity are within reach,
where middle-class families once again know the security and peace of mind they felt slipping away for years now. and today's job report confirms what most americans already know. we still have a long way to go and a lot of work to do to give people the security and opportunity that they deserve. we've added more than 2 million new private sector jobs over the past 16 months, but the recession cost us more than 8 million. and that means that we still have a big hole to fill. each new job that was created last month is good news for the people who are back at work and for the families they take care of and for the communities that they're a part of. but our economy as a whole just isn't producing nearly enough jobs for everybody who's looking. we've always known that we'd have ups and downs on our way back from this recession.
and over the past few months the economy's experienced some tough headwinds. from natural disasters to spikes in gas prices to state and local budget cuts that have cost tens of thousands of cops and firefighters and teachers their jobs. the problems in greece and in europe along with uncertainty over whether the debt limit here in the united states will be raised have also made businesses hesitant to invest more aggressively. the economic challenges that we face weren't created overnight, and they're not going to be solved overnight. but the american people expect us to act on every single good idea that's out there. i read letter after letter from folks hit hard by this economy. none of them ask for much. some of them pour their guts out in these letters. and they want me to know that
what they're looking for is that we have done everything we can to make sure that they are rewarded when they're living up to their responsibilities, when they're doing right by their communities, when they're playing by the rules. that's what they're looking for. and they feel like the rules have changed. they feel that leaders on wall street and in washington -- and believe me, no party is exempt -- have let them down. and they wonder if their efforts will ever be reciprocated by their leaders. they also make sure to point out how much pride and faith they have in this country, that as hard as things might be today they are positive that things can get better. and i believe that we can make things better. how we respond is up to us. there are a few things that we can and should do right now to
redouble our efforts on behalf of the american people. let me give you some examples. right now there are over a million construction workers out of work after the housing boom went bust. just as a lot of america needs rebuilding. we connect the two by investing in rebuilding our roads and our bridges and our railways and our infrastructure. and we could put back to work right now some of those construction workers that lost their jobs when the housing market went bust. right now we can give our entrepreneurs the chance to let their job-creating ideas move to market faster by streamlining our patent process. that's pending before congress right now. that should pass. today congress can advance trade agreements that will help businesses sell more american-made goods and services to asia and south america, supporting thousands of jobs
here at home. that could be done right now. right now there are a lot of middle-class families who sure could use the security of knowing that the tax cut that i signed in december to help boost the economy and help put $1,000 in the pockets of american families, that that's still going to be around next year. that's a change that we could make right now. there are bills and trade agreements before congress right now that could get all these ideas moving. all of them have bipartisan support. all of them could pass immediately. and i urge congress not to wait. the american people need us to could everything we can to help strengthen this economy and make sure that we are producing more jobs. also to put our economy on a stronger and sounder footing for the future we've got to rein in our deficits and get the government to live within its means while still making the investments that help put people
to work right now and make us more competitive in the future. as i mentioned, we've had some good meetings. we had a good meeting here yesterday with leaders of both parties in congress. and while real differences remain, we agreed to work through the weekend and meet back here on sunday. the sooner we get this done, the sooner that the markets know that the debt limit ceiling will have been raised and that we have a serious plan to deal with our debt and deficit, the sooner that we give our businesses the certainty that they will need in order to make additional investments to grow and to hire and will provide more confidence to the rest of the world as well so that they are committed to investing in america. now, the american people sent us here to do the right thing not for party but for country. so we're going to work together to get things done on their behalf. that's the least that they
should expect of us. not the most that they should expect of us. i'm ready to roll up my sleeves over the next several weeks and next several months. i know that people in both parties are ready to do that as well. and we will keep you updated on the progress that we're making on these debt limit talks over the next several days. thank you. >> how was the meeting with -- >> there we had president obama addressing this morning's jobs report that came out that doesn't look so hot as well as talking about what's taking place, the front and center conversation of the debt ceiling talks in washington, d.c. but we want to talk more about the jobs front here. lakshman achuthan is the co-founder and chief operating officer of the economic research cycle institute. he joins me in studio. you're a frequent guest on our hour and we love having you here, especially when we can talk right on the heels of the president there talking about the economy. and this is a president that's running for re-election. can the president do something within the time frame that he has right now to turn things around as he's talking about redoubling his efforts.
the administration functionally do something, lakshman, that we can see results that we're not going to be talking about these dismal jobs reports like we have today? >> not a lot. i think on the margin you can do something. but you're not going to -- the business psychsale much mocycle powerful than the president or washington or congress or the fed. the jobs numbers reveal that we are starting a new slowdown. it's not a new recession, but it's a thoughtling back again of economic growth, which includes jobs growth. now, there's some noise in the data, but if you're looking at leading indicators they're telling you we're not having any rebound in the business cycle itself. so if policy is going to do something against that, it's very, very difficult that to overwhelm that. you can't. and so i think maybe one of the things to do is to do no harm, right you? don't want to raise taxes very sharply and you also don't want to cut spending very sharply. and i know ideologically that's a little bit for both sides and not good news for both sides. but in the near term it wouldn't
be prudent to be putting the brakes on an economy that's already slowing. it's a huge problem in the medium to long term. you've got to deal with it and deficit. >> lakshman, great to have you on this morning. thanks for your time. >> thank you. other big news today, it's coming to us from cape canaveral, florida, where in less than 20 minutes nasa is scheduled to send the last space shuttle into orbit. the crew is on board, and they are all fueled up. they are ready to go. and mother nature is cooperating right now. this countdown is being held at t minus nine minutes from lift-off. the crew and all their support staff are going through their final checklist. the lift-off, which was threatened, as i said, by bad weather, is scheduled for 11:26 eastern time. my colleague tamron hall, host of msnbc's "news nation," is watching it all front and center from kennedy space center in florida. she's going to be anchoring our live coverage from there. also nbc's tom costello is going to be there as well with tamron. but let's start with tamron. mother nature finally cooperating, as i know, huh? >> you know, thomas, i'm taking
a deep breath because i think you're right. we are seeing a window here. the excitement is building. as you mentioned, i'm with nbc's tom costello. and tom has in one ear our mission control, if you will, in new york counting us down. he also has nasa and their updates in the other ear. and looking behind me, sxwu pointed this out, tom, nasa may regret not going through with this launch. >> well, because we have, believe it or not, beautiful weather. and seconds ago as you were just giving the intro they gave the go. weather has -- the weather officer here has signed off on this mission. the flight officer has said we are going for launch. and he has said to commander chris ferguson, fergie, godspeed. that is the last time a launch director will ever say "godspeed" to a shuttle commander because this is the last shuttle mission. >> and a little bit about that commander. his nickname is fergie, christopher ferguson. he was 7 years old when neil armstrong made that historic walk on the moon. he actually saw the movie "the right stuff" and said that he
saw so many astronauts early in life and navy pilots and he got the buzz like so many others we hear around here and he knew he wanted to be a part of the greatness that is produced here and in houston and the entire shuttle program. and it's so interesting, tom, we're just getting out of the president, and he's talking about the unemployment rate ticking up to 9.2. outside of this launch, which is so important, and it is a source of pride, we also have this second-tier story, and it's equally important, about the number of people who will lose their jobs with the end of this space shuttle program. two years ago 12,000 people had their jobs. when the wheels touch down on "atlantis," that number will go gown to 6,000. and by the end of august 1,000 people. >> here at the kennedy space center. yeah. it has been a devastating blow for the space coast up and down here from brevard county all the way up to daytona and south. they've had some warnings and they've tried to prepare but we've spent some time here over the years talking to the people who work on the shuttle program, and many of them are very worried about how they will feed
their families because the economy is in such bad shape. there's nothing really to ping the slack at the moment. they would like to see a commercial space vehicle come along and provide jobs here but so far the commercial sector isn't yet ready to lift astronauts into space, and so we're going to have a period of three to four, maybe five years in which american astronauts have to hitch a ride with the russians and this place, the kennedy space center's going to be awfully quiet. >> and we're accustomed to seeing seven crew members, but this time around four because of that reason. there's no backup shuttle here. so if god forbid anything happened they would have to, as you point out, hitch a ride with the russian soyuz, and that would accommodate three plus one russian, which is a requirement there. but back to the crew, because i think that's a part of why as a kid in texas i grew to become a space nerd, which is apparently the vernacular around here. douglas hurley, aka chunky, was born in 1966, and he says he remembers watching the sky lab missions between cartoons growing up as a kid. we also have the only female,
sandra magnus, born in 1964, from belleville, illinois. and she said it was a great life living in the suburbs, if you will, but having the access to the cities and being able to have a part of this history in her life is incredible. they're all expressing the same thing, this is a humbling experience for them, and they are so honored to be the crew of this final shuttle mission. i love that. and last but not least, a friend of "news nation," rick waldheim, who was on with us as well. from san carlos, california, worked as a flight test engineer for four years before applying to nasa and he was accepted on his second try. never giving up. and he says persistence is what has kept him going. >> i was in houston interviewing the crew for this mission. i was in the training simulator in which they train people, astronauts to ride the shuttle into space. every time i've interviewed crew members, they are such an exceptional group of people. they are incredibly smart. they are usually very humble. they are so well educated.
very often they are also coming from the military. and they are so dedicated to the science that nasa represents and the belief and service to the country. and this final crew said to me many, many times, we want to go out and do this right and go out in style as a tribute to everybody who's been a part of the shuttle program. >> and it's interesting. you've had such access to the crew members, and i talked to a number of people while here overnight about what this means to the everyday american. obviously, you've been here before. this is my first time. and it is a great honor to be here to see what we have been able to produce as americans. and it's interesting. a lot of people say that, you know, they wonder what's next and what will be next for the space program, but at this moment, at this second we embrace the accomplishment of the space shuttle. when this program was originally started, the dream was quite honestly that it would cost 7 million and we'd see weekly trips to space. that's not the case. we now know the numbers are
around 500 million to a billion dollars for each trip, far more than what anybody expected to be spent on this program. nonetheless, with all of these controversies that surround, it is still a spectacular machine. >> it is. >> it has taken us for 30 years far and beyond what many expected. and it can't be dismissed. >> it was envisioned by president nixon's administration, believe it or not. the diagram, if you will, goes back 40 years. but it is i think without question one of the most, if not the most sophisticated piece of equipment any human being has ever created. 135 missions. it's carried 355 humans into space from 16 countries. and today it is going to be on a resupply mission to the space station. 8,000 pounds of cargo. enough to hold the space station over for yet another year. everything from food, to you know, toilet paper, everything you can imagine. and the whole point here is they didn't think that they were going to get this mission off. but then they realized earlier this year they can squeeze one more mission in.
it is "atlantis," as you mentioned, a four-man, or four-person crew. and -- but with a caveat, that there is no rescue shuttle on the pad just in case something goes wrong. >> 115 million miles "atlantis" has served. as someone said, an article i read, that "atlantis" is just being broken in. there are many good years ahead. as we know, this is the final mission. let me bring in eileen marie collins. she is a nasa astronaut, former nasa astronaut from elmira, new york. and eileen, i've got to get your thoughts as we tick down the clock here and wait five minutes away as we watch the end of this space program. >> well, good morning. it's great to be with you today. i am very, very excited, like i always am when a shuttle launch countdown's taking place. today especially i'm sad, sad to see the shuttle program go. i'm sad for the people at kennedy and houston who will be losing their jobs, very talented people, with technical engineering skills, and hopefully the country can follow on the shuttle with something
new and exciting to take us to new destinations. that's my hope today. >> but that's a part of -- yeah. and that is the hope of so many. there's a big controversy, as you mentioned. i wanted to point out you that were part of the first flight of "discovery," the new joint russia-america space program. and tom and i have been talking about this new relationship, if you will, that we will have, that our astronauts will be shuttled by the russians until we get to that what's next phase here. and we had a great conversation with jay barbree, a veteran space correspondent-b the heavy lift rockets and so many are putting their hopes in that that is the next step here because without these heavy lift rockets you can't get anyone to the asteroid or even mars, which is apparently a part of this administration's goal list. >> the plan is for lighter rockets, commercial, privately owned rockets, to take our astronauts to the space station. as you said, russia does that now. $50 million a seat. private industry, we hope, would take over that trip to the space station.
but probably not for another four or five years. the deep space rockets you're talking about, the large rockets similar to apollo, saturn v, that is what our country, nasa, the government is trying to develop. and we need a commitment because these are fairly expensive. i don't think it's so expensive that we can't do it despite our budgetary problems. i think we can do these things. great countries explore, go places that we haven't been before, learn new things, do new things, and create opportunities. that's what it's all about. >> absolutely. tom? >> commander collins, this is tom costello. it's nice to hear your voice again. the last time we talked you were orbiting at about i think 22,000 miles, something like that. but i'm security if you think the russians have been good partners because the russians are going to be ferrying astronauts to the station for the next four, five, six years, but we have been partnering with them for the better part of 20 years. how do you believe that relationship has unfolded? >> well, i think we are great partners with the russians.
we worked very, very well with them down at the tactical level, the day to day, the working level. they're passionate about their space program. they've been very safe. we're friends with the cosmonauts. we're friends with their engineers. the concern i have is what would happen at the very top level, the political level, things that are out of our control? we just don't know. as long as we can maintain good strategic relations with the russians we can continue this program. but down at the astronaut-cosmonaut level it's very, very good. >> let me ask you again going back to the crew. sandra magnus is the only female. she says that she was a kid when nasa picked its first group of female astronauts. from that perspective i am always moved by how inspiring this program is and the individuals. how does it feel to yet again see a woman as a part of this crew? >> well, the women are -- women are a very integral part of nasa. the astronauts, launch control, mission control, engineering,
throughout the program. and i want young women to look at shuttle -- young women and men to look at the space shuttle crews, just a wide variety of different backgrounds and people. their cultures, their education. it's a way to inspire young people to take those tough courses in school and get those degrees in engineering and science. and the space program is one way to i would say motivate them to do those sorts of things. so good for sandy. i hope she has a great mission along with her crew and a great flight today. >> absolutely. well, commander eileen marie collins, thank you very much for your time. we greatly appreciate you joining us. so tom, we are fewer than -- we're about a minute out, i understand here. >> yeah. >> and again, i look out to my right, and we can see people to our left. and there are -- it's just the air is starting to get that stillness that i've heard so much about. >> let me just tell you, you are in for a moment you will never forget. especially to live and see this
right here. we talk about people with the right stuff. eileen collins has the right stuff. >> and another person who has the right stuff is nbc's veteran space correspondent. let's go to jay barbree as we prepare for the final lift-off of "atlantis." >> we're getting real close here with 40 seconds to go to launch. and i want to tell you this, brian, we're going to be climbing up toward your place where you are going up the eastern seaboard from here to asbury park, new jersey is where this will burn out in about 8 1/2 minutes. now let's let george diller take us through the rest of the countdown. >> go ahead. >> we need tactical duty. verification per the ltc please. >> the ltc says we need to verify using a camera. and we're positioning camera 62 right now. >> okay. let us know as soon as 62 is swung over and you can verify
l lcc. recheck, please. >> we're holding one second while we wait for verification that the gva has fully retracted. >> we verify retracted. >> okay. and you can verify that it is fully retracted per the instructions. >> they had a bad reading. >> they had a bad reading, but it now appears that they are still on plan to go. we originally heard that they perhaps wanted to check out a problem. but i'm -- >> they're pulling -- >> tom costello's telling me from the information we're receiving from nasa that it was a bad reading. >> well, the possibility of a bad reading on the retractable piece of equipment. but right now it looks like they are go and it looks like they may pick up the count here in a second. we're t minus 31 seconds. >> and we've seen this before. >> absolutely.
>> the anticipation. and the equipment on these shuttles so very sensitive. and they have to certainly make sure that all ts are crossed, is dotted. and let's i believe go -- >> we're listening to launch director mike linebaugh here. and he'll make the call. >> so again, this anticipation, as i mentioned, tom, we're very familiar with here, but this is the 33rd launch of "atlantis," the final for the shuttle progr program. they're ready to go. >> we're going to go ahead and proceed. >> please do. >> all personnel, we are going to pick up the clock here momentarily. >> copy that. countdown clock will resume on my mark. three, two, one. mark. >> t minus -- >> sequence start. >> hand-off to "atlantis's" computers has occurred. solid rocket booster nozzle steering check and work. >> 20. >> firing chain is armed.
>> 15. >> go for main engine start. t minus 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, all three engines up and burning, 2, 1, zero, and lift-off. the final lift-off of "atlantis" on the shoulders of the space shuttle america will continue the dream. >> roger roll, "atlantis." >> houston now controlling the flight of "atlantis." the space shuttle spreads its wings one final time for the start of a sentimental journey into history. 24 seconds into the flight, roll program complete, "atlantis" now heads down, wings level, on the proper alignment for its 8 1/2-minute ride to orbit. 4 1/2 million pounds of hardware and humans taking aim on the international space station. 40 seconds into the flight, the three liquid fuel main engines thoughtling back to 72% of rated
performance. in the bucket reducing stress on the shuttle as it goes transsonic for the final time. >> everything running perfectly. she's programmed over. everything p she's headed up the eastern seaboard. stand by, daytona beach. here comes the farewell flight of "atlantis." >> "atlantis," go at throttle up, no daction, dpdt. >> no action on dpdt. >> the call from cap com -- >> our colleague jim ober. >> no action required. >> jim olberg in mission control reporting she's now 46 miles off daytona. 17 miles high. >> 16 miles down range from the kennedy space center. one minute 40 seconds into the flight. "atlantis" flexing its muscles
one final time. "atlantis" traveling almost 2,600 miles an hour, 21 miles in altitude, 24 miles down range, standing by for solid rocket booster separation. >> this picture is from a camera on board the external fuel tank. there goes the solids. they are now separating. there they are, falling away. you can see them. >> good solid rocket booster separation. guidance now converging. the main engine steering the shuttle on a pinpoint path to its preliminary orbit. two minutes 20 seconds into the flight, "atlantis" already traveling 3,200 miles an hour, 35 miles in altitude, 50 miles down range. >> just past daytona beach. >> system engines have ignited. "atlantis" kicking on its afterburners for 1:23 for the final phase of powered flight. >> "atlantis," two engine tile.
>> that means they could get across the atlantic with two engines instead of the three they have on board. everything perfect now as "atlantis" climbs into orbit for the final mission of the space shuttle. everything right on target. you are looking at a picture of "atlantis" from a camera underneath the belly of the spacecraft attached to the external fuel tank. it will take eight minutes and 24 seconds for it to get into space. it's riding now. everything is going perfectly. we seem to have lost the transmission from mission control by rob nagus. don't know what's happened here. but we will stay with it, keep you going up. and here we are here, if we pick up -- here we go. here we'll pick up rob navius again. all right, everybody -- everything is on schedule right here. it should be coming up here shortly to what they call
negative return. what that means is that they cannot return here to the space center. they would have to fly across the atlantic ocean to a landing site in spain if they had an emergency. okay. they are now off the coast of savannah already. they're 172 miles off the coast of savannah. they're 60 miles high. everything is going perfectly. i don't know why we've lost communications here with mission control -- >> "atlantis's" three engines performing perfectly. >> all right. we have rob navius back. >> four minutes 20 seconds into the flight. "atlantis" currently traveling 5,500 miles an hour -- >> we're back here with my colleague tom costello. we're almost five minutes into the flight. the next critical point is around eight minutes when the external fuel tanks will drop into the pacific. but tom, my hands are shaking. >> yeah. >> and i'm not a cryer. and i cried because this is the
greatness of -- here i go. i'm sorry. >> it is -- >> it is the greatness of this country. and to see and to witness this. i want to run out and get in one of the rvs and just yell with the rest of the people who are lined up along i-4. but it is -- this is the american dream. this is what we think of and we envision and we make it happen. >> this country -- no other country can make the space shuttle happen. no other country has the technological expertise to make this a reality. and this country has done it now for 30 years. and so the final space shuttle mission is incredibly emotional for many people. but when you see it -- and i told you, when you -- it's like nothing you will ever experience. when you feel that rumble here, when you watch that shuttle take off, it is a sense of pride and also nervousness for the crew. >> yes. >> you want so much for them to make it safely into orbit. and they are well on their way. the critical moment we listen for is eight minutes 24 seconds into the launch because that's when the external fuel tank
drops off. at the moment they are well beyond the most dangerous point. that's when the solid rocket boosters are still connected. but they've now dropped off, and they've fallen into the atlantic ocean. >> and they will be reused -- well, they'll be brought back. >> potentially. >> but the next part, and i don't want to get too ahead of myself, but back to what the shuttle program has been able to accomplish, it is why so immediately after this launch the question of what's next. and people look to nasa officials and the white house and the budget that was just passed for nasa to perhaps answer some of these questions that are in the future, but that's what nasa is. it is about looking forward and the future, tom. >> this may be one of the most controversial times in the history of nasa. because there is a real tug of war under way about what is the future of nasa. the decision's been made. they are turning over space missions to the space station to the commercial sector. but the commercial sector's not ready yet. so it's going to take several years. beyond that, as you discussed
with commander collins, is how do we go to the next big thing, whether it's an asteroid or the moon or mars? that's going to require these big solid -- or these big heavy lift rockets which at the moment we don't have but there's an argument over well, why not use what we do have and expand upon it? >> which would be parts of the shuttle. >> exactly. >> but there is a mandate from congress, though, to build these rockets, these heavy lift rockets that will be needed. a lot of talk is surrounding orion. but the bottom line is, as jay barbree was so eloquent in discussing earlier during our coverage, you need these heavy lift rockets to get orion or anything embassy out thelse out. and we know on the list of goals perhaps an asteroid, as i mentioned, or even mars. but there's also controversy over the constellation program, which was scrapped in favor of the obama administration saying hey, let's look at privatization, let's look at people like, for example, the man who created paypal and see what they're able to produce. i understand we have barbree, who's standing by with us.
jay, congratulations. another excellent job on your part. to hear the words coming from your mouth saying perfect was so comforting i imagine to all of those watching this final launch today. >> well, tamron, you know, we lost nasa there for a minute, mission control. and i want to say, they left here only eight minutes and five seconds ago and they're passing cape may, new jersey right now. they're getting on out. they're going up the eastern seaboard. everybody up in new jersey and new york, say farewell to "atlantis." the last flight. it's coming your way. >> hey, jay, can i add my voice to tamron's? congratulations. this is jay's 135th shuttle launch. but jay, 165 or 166 total manned missions that you've called or been a part of. >> yeah. 166, tom. and we're moving on out on this one here. and as you can see, everybody, looking from the camera on board the external fuel tank, you can watch it go into orbit.
and right now we're off the jersey coast and pretty soon we will be burning out. i think we did. separating right now. we did. as we assed asbury park. you can see "atlantis" separating from the tank. a perfect mission -- >> that's the moment you wait for right there. >> -- and this is the last time. >> jay has called every manned space mission, tamron -- has been a part of every manned space mission for nbc news since 1958. >> and he was just a child back then. but jay, let me ask you your thoughts here. again, i'm a rookie to this. you and tom both experienced, but none more experienced than you. how do you feel watching this final lift-off of "atlantis"? >> well, i know everybody's wondering, tamron, how in the world i could have covered all these missions in 53 years and i'm only 38. now, that's hard to figure out. but really, hey, guys, i love you guys. it's great to have you and tom here with us. this is magnificent. yes, it's an end of the era.
but you know, let's make a date right now, tamron and tom. let's be back here for the next astronauts that lift off from this florida sand spit called cape canaveral. you have to remember, cape canaveral is the oldest name in north america. it was named by ponce de leon when he stepped on the land of florida just a few miles south of here. it's one of the most historic places in the world. when men decide to go to the men, he stepped off from the same launchpad. so let's the three of us be back here for the next one in about four years. >> jay is a walking encyclopedia. >> yes, he is. but jay, let me ask you, because of the historic perspective that you have, i do want to get your perspective on the what's next question here. and again, i hasten to ask so quickly, but -- as this bug attacks me. but many people want to know because on a serious note you have, as you pointed out, two
years ago, 12,000 people are working for the shuttle program. that number will go down by the end of august to 1,000. and they are wondering for many reasons what happens next for the people who made this a success. >> well, tamron, the second great space race is under way with the commercial companies. they will simply be trying to take astronauts back to the space station. but the congress, both houses, the white house and nasa isself say they want to go with heavy lift. the budget is there. this is a larger rocket that was planned that can carry the already planned and approved orion spacecraft with up to seven -- seven members into space and to deep space pretty soon. so anyway, the problem is right now it has been held up by bureaucrats in the office of management budget, paul shawcroft. i'll get it right.
shawcross. and they're trying to get it out of there now so they can get things back on track and save some of these jobs. the question is why is it being held up by omb? and otherwise, they would be able to tell these people here what we're going to do next. we don't really know until it's out of the omb. >> let me ask you, though, because part of the challenge president kennedy gave to the nation was about difficult things and you have to take on these challenges. do we -- or do you not see that same willingness, jay, to take on the tough challenges, especially in this climate where obviously we know the debates that are happening in washington right now from the debt ceiling to the deficit, are we no longer the people who 30 or 60 years ago were willing to take on these great challenges? >> yes, we are still the same people. and the reason we know, that over 4 million of our citizens come to visit this sand spit every year. and every survey that's ever
been run, the majority of the citizens of the united states of america wants this space program to continue. as i said earlier, the problem right now to keep this from continuing, and we'll be using money already spent here on the same solid rocket motors and the same engines on board the shuttle and the spacecraft that's already been approved called orion, all of this we just have to have. the congress wants, it the white house wants it, nasa wants it. omb, why don't you want it? >> well, we will see what's next in the conversation, but in the meantime, again, congratulations, jay. it is a pleasure to be a part of your team here today. and thank you. excellent coverage. and tom, you why final thoughts before we send it back to new york. >> i would only say as to jay barbree, jay -- i stepped into this role covering space about six years ago, and jay has been nothing but kind and giving and always has an incredible story and more information and more instant recall than anybody i
know. his perspective is so valuable. but as it relates to america's commitment to the space program, you know, budgetarily we still are pretty much where we were before. the issue is this fight, this argument over what is america's -- what's the government's role, how much should the government be involved versus the private sector. and at the moment the administration has decided to give the private sector the chance to low earth orbit. a lot of people including the former administrator of nasa thinks the private sector isn't ready yet and that eventually nasa's going to have to come back. >> we'll see. >> but that's for later down the road. >> that's all to be worked out. but in the meantime, we just witnessed the four-person crew of "atlantis" on what jay barbree so beautifully called a perfect lift-off. i just hope i'm here for the landing because i hear that's so much better than the takeoff itself. but this is a fantastic occasion. another example we will all think of when we think of the gratness of our country. and coming up at 2:00 p.m. eastern "news nation," i will be
live here from the kennedy space center with along with tom costello, jay barbree. senator nelson also. we have a packed house to continue our coverage of the news of the day and even to talk about the unemployment numbers released today and how it affects not only the entire country but specifically here in florida, which will be a key state if the obama administration plans to hold on to the white house. we'll have all of that coming up 2:00 p.m. eastern time. "news nation." in the meantime, this has been just a spectacular day. the cloudiest day i can imagine but the most beautiful day. back to you, thomas. >> tamron, tom, thanks so much. also our thanks to jay. we'll see you at 2:00. talking more now about "atlantis" lifting off at 11:29:10. a beautiful launch. a small hiccup, we saw there at t minus 31 where there was a problem with a piece of retractable equipment. but nbc space analyst james olberg joins me now. he's a former space shuttle mission controller and designed the first assembly flight of the international space station. james, it's great to have you with me and i want to talk a
little bit about what we saw at t minus 31 where we had the stall there. what was that minor hiccup that had to do with retractable equipment? >> thomas, it was deja vu all over again. 30 years ago i was on console as a young flight controller on the first launch attempt of "columbia" and at t minus 31 seconds the computers froze. they just -- they froze. we tried several times that morning to get past the 31-second mark, couldn't do it. two days later we launched on time. this was a different reason, but it was the same point. that's why i'm sitting here shaking my head with disbelief. what a dramatic way to go out to end the program. in this case apparently a piece of equipment, a swing arm, didn't fully retract or didn't indicate it was fully retracted, like the little light in your refrigerator comes on when the door's open. and they checked it visually, and within a few minutes said it's fine, it's out of the way, let's go ahead and launch. and they did and did it perfectly. >> and james, this is such an american moment. i mean, for everybody to gather around the tv sets and watch
this, whether they're, you know, schoolkids or they're adults, we all want to be a part of this, to watch successful launches coming out of cape canaveral. but explain how much weather was playing an issue into what we just saw. >> the weather is an issue for a shuttle-type vehicle more than others because you have to not only take off and go through the clouds and get good tv tracking in case of trouble, but the shuttle can come back and land at the launch site, land back at the runway right next to the launchpad if there's trouble during the early minutes of the ascent. this is a feature that capsules don't have. they have other ways of being rescued. in fact, capsules can land anywhere and the crew can survive. but the shuttle had a chance to come back. and that always has to keep the weather clear for not just lift-off but for 10, 15, 20 minutes after lift-off. that's been a problem. this time they got the hole in the clouds. and as they were hoping. >> a beautiful job.
>> as the million people on the -- as the million people on the beaches including friends of mine i just talked to on my mobile, who got the treat they were waiting for. i could hear them shouting all the way here in houston. >> i think we all got the treat. and i love that we could be part of your full circle moment there with that deja vu at t minus 31 seconds. james, great to see you today. james oberg, thank you. >> okay, thomas. you know, for decades the shuttle program has employed thousands and been a tourism boon for the area surrounding cape canaveral. so what happens when nasa closes its doors? it's a huge question, and tamron and tom were just discussing that from the launchpad at cape canaveral. cnbc's brian schachtman is live at cape canaveral as well with the facts and the figures to break this down for us. and brian, this is going to have a big ripple effect, especially through nasa but also through that sector of florida. >> reporter: yeah. they say, thomas -- first of all, why do i have to be the downer today? but that's fine. i'll take that place on a difficult job today. they say for every nasa job it creates at least two jobs in the
private sector. and kennedy space center's gone from 16,000 employees in 2006 to 11,500 right now, and when the shuttle program fully winds down it will be right around 8,000. so if you do those economic numbers you're talking a lot of jobs being lost. and it's an area -- the county where we sit is already at about 11% unemployment. so once the euphoria of today winds down there are some real question marks to how this community is going to survive because foreclosures are an issue. now jobs are an issue. i talked to one really fascinating guy who worked here since the shuttle launch. he's going to be out of a job along with 2,000 others on july 22nd. he's like i work at walmart, i need to make money, and some people say there aren't even jobs at walmart. it's a serious issue. >> it's a lot to take into consideration. brian schachtman, great to see you, brian. thanks so much. >> thanks, thomas. >> with the end of the shuttle program the big question is what is the future of space travel going to look like in america? for more on that we want to turn now to jeffrey kluger. he's a senior editor with "time" magazine and joins us from cape
canaveral. jeffrey, tell us about what nasa is doing to take americans into space in the coming years because a lot of people are questioning where is the american commitment to space, the one we've been the leader on for decades? >> and it's actually a very fair question. one of the reasons there's uncertainty is because nasa is moving in a few directions at once. as we've said earlier today, the private sector is basically getting the responsibility of flying to low earth orbit. that's important because we built a $100 billion space station and unless we want to spend the life of the station hitching rides with the russians at tens of millions of seats a pop we really should have our own spacecraft. as far as deep space, the kinds of missions that really excite people, to the moon, to mars, to the lagrange points, or asteroids, that's a little less certain. right here this week in a tent behind me lockheed martin has a mockup of the orion crew
capsule, which is sort of -- think of it as apollo on steroids. model flew once, a mile up and down range. it did test features of the vehicle. it looks like it's a very smart and capable way of getting folks into space. the problem is we don't have a heavy lift booster to get us there. the contractor for that hasn't even been chosen yet. the general idea for it hasn't been chosen yet. i was speaking to nasa administrator lawyerry garver this morning who has admittedly a very tough job on her hands. wrangling congress, the designers -- but i can't imagine that a booster will be built by 2016. >> a lot of speculation about where we're going. great to see you, thanks.
>> thank you so much for having me. >> absolutely. it is bittersweet as we watch the end of an era right here live seeing the beautiful launch of "atlantis." we're going to take a look back at how it all began in our flip side. and right now here's how nbc covered the first landing way back in 1981. >> three, touchdown. >> and it was done, some had >> and it was done, some had thought it would never work,ionl constipation, diarrhea, it did. with three strains of good bacteria to help balance your colon. you had me at "probiotic." [ female announcer ] phillips' colon health.
welcome back. it's time now for the flip side. our look behind the headlines. i want you to take a look at this mazing time lapse video of the preparations leading up to today's liftoff of space shuttle "atlantis." >> the final mission for america's space shuttle fleet began with the shuttle "atlantis" in its processing hangar. it was there for weeks to check and recheck its millions of parts making sure the last
shuttle was ready to haul 14 tons of food, equipment and supplies to the international space station. shuttle workers gathered by the hundreds to witness the space shuttle's final rollout. 3 5 humans will be flown 852 times on 135 shuttle missions. >> that was nbc's jay barberry in cape canaveral with the beginning of the end for the program. american snauts headed to the international space station have to do it by hitching a ride with russia on a 24.5 foot capsule. they're tiny in comparison with the shuttle. a russian rescue mission would take a year or many to ferry the crew home if anything were to happen to go wrong. the russian monopoly on manned space flight means a ticket to orbit is costly costing more than $43 million a pop for u.s. astronauts to ride this year.
that will rise to $63 million by the year 2016. nasa's banking on private companies to enter into the ill four firms to develop new spacecraft for human flight. in the meantime, american crews are prepping to do things the cosmonaut way. new astronaut trainees are required top spend 400 hours brushing up on their russian if they want to become space astronauts. that's going to do it for me today. it's been an amazing morning to be a part of this and watch the successful launch of "atlantis." i'll see you at 11:00 a.m. eastern time on monday. until then you can follow me on twitter. i want you to have a great weekend. don't go anywhere, richard lui is picking things up next right here on msnbc. take care. [ male announcer ] built like a volkswagen.
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blood, liver and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure. before starting humira, your doctor should test you for tb. ask your doctor if you live or have been to a region where certain fungal infections are common. tell your doctor if you have had tb, hepatitis b, are prone to infections, or have symptoms such as fever, fatigue, cough, or sores. you should not start humira if you have any kind of infection. make today the day you talk to your rheumatologist. and ask how you can defend against and help stop further joint damage with humira. a very good day to you. i'm richard lui filling in for contessa brewer. we're covering the big news for you today.